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article imagePatrick Stewart, the bakers, and the gay-cake row

By Tim Sandle     Jun 7, 2015 in Entertainment
Belfast - Actor Patrick Stewart has taken to Facebook to clarify his support for Ashers Bakery. The bakery recently lost the 'gay cake' court case.
For those unfamiliar with the Ashers Bakery story, the matter relates to a bakery based in Northern Ireland and to an incident that occurred in July 2014. The bakery - Ashers Baking Company - refused to take an order from a gay rights activist. The customer had asked for cake to be made featuring the Sesame Street puppets, Bert and Ernie. The customer also wanted a logo on the cake for a gay rights organization called "Queerspace." The customer, Gareth Lee, raised a complaint to the Northern Irish Equality Commission, and the case went to court.
The case came to court in May 2015. The bakery argued that, as Christian-organization, it could select the type of orders it took. However, a judge in a court in Belfast ruled that Ashers, as with any trading business, was not exempt from discrimination law. A fine of £500 ($900) was imposed in damages to the customer. Gareth Lee announced that the money would go to charity.
The issue, unsurprisingly, kicked-off a storm in the U.K. and other parts of the world. Christian groups argued that matters of religious views should be allowed to be expressed by businesses; others argued that a business must not be allowed to discriminate under any circumstances. Others argued that the matter was in fact one of freedom of speech.
This is where Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart found himself engulfed in an Internet war of words. The veteran actor was criticized following remarks he made supporting Ashers Bakery, according to The Independent.
Stewart said on BBC's Newsnight: "It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them. It is the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive. I would support their rights to say no, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it."
Following this Stewart faced a barrage of messages across social media. The actor, using his Facebook account, attempted to state this his point was about freedom of speech rather than a criticism of homosexuality. Here, according to Digital Spy, the actor wrote: "In my view, this particular matter was not about discrimination, but rather personal freedoms and what constitutes them, including the freedom to object.
“Both equality and freedom of speech are fundamental rights— and this case underscores how we need to ensure one isn’t compromised in the pursuit of the other."
In the meantime, the bakery at the heart of the issue intends to appeal.
More about Patrick stewart, ashers, bakers, hommosexual, Cake
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